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Double The Debating Fun

Yesterday was another Republican Primary Debate and tonight I will be attending the Silverman/D’souza Debate. These are however very different debates with very different objectives. Both are entertaining for their own reasons.

The political debate is focused on persuading people to support other people while the religion debate is focused on persuading people to change fundamental ideas about the world. In politics, the intended audience for the debate might not have an opinion or if they do, their opinion is generally not resistant to change. That isn’t the case for religion debates. The audience generally comes into the debate fully supporting a particular position. In a way, they are rooting for their champion.

For the Republican Debate, I don’t have a dog in that fight so for me it is pure entertainment. I enjoy watching the candidates out crazy each other and attack each other’s positions. Although, I have to admit that I occasionally find myself rooting for Jon Huntsman.

With the religion debate, I am much more invested. I am definitely excited to see how Dave Silverman does. I consider Dave to be a friend and I obviously agree with his position in the debate. However, I try to put myself in the shoes of a neutral party when observing debates and I have been known to be very critical of my fellow atheists in these situations.

D’souza is a very smart guy and he knows his way around the debating podium. He knows how to distort facts and name drop to make it seem like he has the scientific high-ground when he doesn’t. Normally, I would think this debate is a bad idea for Silverman, however I think that Silverman’s debate style may be perfect for this situation. When most people debate the religious, they tend to give legitimacy to them by arguing their points specifically. This implied that their points have at least some level of credibility.

This is where I think Silverman might be the ideal opponent against Dinesh. Silverman isn’t known for debating particulars. Instead, he tends to focus people back on to the ridiculousness of the proposition. I’ll let you know how it works out.

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